New Delhi: The election expenses individually incurred by more than half of the newly-elected legislators to the Assam Assembly did not even cross 50 per cent of the total limit set by the Election Commission, a report said on Monday.
Interestingly, candidates have repeatedly claimed that the election expenditure limit was "very low", the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), which released the findings, said.
65 MLAs, out of 126, declared election expenses of less than 50 per cent of the limit, which was fixed at Rs 28 lakh during the Assam polls held earlier this year.
"The average amount of money spent by all the 126 MLAs in the elections is only about Rs 14.78 lakh. The BJP MLAs spent an average of Rs 15.11 lakh, Congress MLAs spent average of Rs 16.98 lakh," the report says.
Congress' Nandita Das declared the maximum expense of about Rs 27 lakh while Nijanur Rahman of AIDUF declared the lowest expenses at Rs 3.81 lakh.
"Out of the total funds received by MLAs, 48 per cent funds were raised from political parties, 28 per cent were raised by MLAs themselves and 24 per cent funds were raised from other sources such as firms or associations as loan, gift or donations," it says.
Separately, it notes that out of 11 ministers, three declared expenses of less than 50 per cent of the total limit. The average expenses of all the ministers was about Rs 17.33 lakh.
"Of the total funds received by ministers, 39 per cent funds were raised from political parties, 19 per cent were raised by Ministers themselves and 42 per cent were raised from other sources," the report adds.
According to Section 78 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, every candidate has to lodge a true copy of his election expenses within 30 days from the date of declaration of result with the District Election Officer in all states and Union Territories.